Along with wrinkles and fine lines, saggy skin is an age-related concern on many people’s minds.
This loss of definition can happen almost anywhere on the body, but the most common areas are the face, neck, abdomen, and arms.
Sagging skin is caused by several factors, including thinning of the epidermis (the surface of the skin) and collagen loss.
This article takes a look at why skin sags and includes information on how you can firm up your skin as you age. Get ready to turn back the clock.
Aging has become synonymous with sagging, and these reasons explain why.
Loss of collagen
Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body and is found in the bones, joints, and tendons.
It’s also what keeps the skin youthful by providing structure to the dermis, the thickest layer of the skin.
As you get older, the body loses collagen naturally. By extension, this includes elastin, another protein responsible for keeping the skin firm and tight.
Loose skin from weight loss
If you’ve lost weight, you may be left with loose skin. This is because skin expands as the body gains weight.
This affects the skin’s ability to snap back into place after weight loss. The same thing happens during pregnancy, when the skin expands over the abdomen.
Since loose skin can dramatically affect a person’s self-esteem, many people choose to undergo excess skin removal surgery. Some common procedures include abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and mastopexy (breast lift).
Years of sun exposure
The sun plays a huge role in premature signs of aging.
This includes wrinkles, vascular disorders, and sagging skin.
These rays both damage and break down the skin’s elastin over time, leading to premature sagging.
Years of sun exposure can even cause thinning of the epidermis, the outermost layer of the skin.
Besides the sun, the skin is exposed to other free radicals outside that can deteriorate the collagen and elastin fibers. This includes toxins, pollutants, and even the food you’re consuming.
Combating sagging doesn’t have to take place in a doctor’s office. There are many things you can try at home.
While you shouldn’t rely solely on firming creams, they can provide subtle differences in tightening up loose skin. Some even minimize the appearance of cellulite.
Keep in mind, however, that these results can take time. Moreover, some creams don’t provide any results.
Use the cream daily, and be sure to maintain a healthy skin routine, such as regularly wearing sunscreen.
If you want a natural facial lift, try facial exercises. You can do these at home and they don’t cost any money.
Facial exercises tone and tighten the muscles of the face using different techniques. For example, jawline exercises purportedly reduce the appearance of a double chin, which is a trouble area for some.
While there’s little clinical evidence on the effectiveness of facial exercises or “facial yoga,” more research has been emerging as of late.
For example, a
When doing facial exercises, you can use a jade roller to assist you.
This ancient Chinese beauty tool is said to:
- encourage lymphatic drainage
- stimulate circulation
- relax facial muscles
While there isn’t a lot of evidence to support these claims, beauty experts swear by it. Similarly, a gua sha stone is another popular beauty tool.
When it comes to improving the skin’s appearance, there are a couple of supplements that can do just that. These include:
- Collagen peptides. The market for this supplement has become popular over the past several years for a reason: It works to replenish the collagen that’s broken down in the body. You can take it in many forms, including a collagen drink. Take it daily and consistently to see results.
- Vitamin C. This powerful antioxidant repairs damaged skin cells, protects the skin from free radicals, and even assists in collagen production.
When looking to firm up saggy skin, these procedures offer a fast solution.
Chemical peels are minimally invasive procedures that improve the texture of the skin. They do so by removing damaged skin cells from the outermost layer of the skin, or epidermis.
While chemical peels are often used on the face, they can also be performed on other areas of the body, such as the neck and hands.
Results aren’t immediate and depend on which type of chemical peel you get. For example, there are three different kinds:
For best results, it’s recommended to have the treatment done every 4 to 6 weeks.
It’s been called the most effective treatment to tighten skin.
Laser surfacing requires the use of one of two lasers: carbon dioxide (CO2) or erbium. C02 helps remove scars, warts, and wrinkles, while erbium addresses more superficial concerns, such as fine lines.
Both, however, improve skin texture by laser focusing on the epidermis.
Results aren’t immediate and recovery time could take up to a few weeks. You’ll likely require several sessions until desired results are achieved.
While the results can last up to 5 years, wrinkles and lines as part of the normal aging process will reoccur.
Ultrasound skin tightening
If you’re looking for a heavy-duty lift, try ultrasound skin tightening.
The ultrasound waves tighten the skin using heat. This treatment goes deeper into the layers of the skin than laser resurfacing.
As a result, this promotes collagen production, leading to smoother and firmer skin over time.
There’s no recovery time and while you’ll see an immediate difference, expect up to 3 to 6 months before you see the best results.
For a noticeable difference, you may have to do three or more treatments.
For the face and neck
Try ultrasound skin tightening.
It targets the skin under your chin, your face, and even the neck (décolletage). It can also help with the appearance of crepey skin, which is skin that’s thin and finely wrinkled. Ultrasound techniques are considered a noninvasive alternative to a facelift, without the pain and hefty cost.
You can try over-the-counter options as well, such as firming lotions or moisturizing creams, to keep the skin supple and hydrated. A cream made especially for the décolletage is another great option.
You can also try facial exercises to whip your skin into shape.
For the arms and legs
Building muscle mass through weight-training exercises will help reduce the appearance of saggy skin.
For the abdomen
Try laser surfacing.
Whether the skin is loose from weight loss, pregnancy, or genetics, heat therapy is a great option. It’s extremely beneficial for targeting loose skin on the abdomen and much less invasive than a tummy tuck.
If you’re ever unsure of whether a treatment is right for you, seek the advice of a board-certified dermatologist.
Board-certified dermatologists are members of the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery, American Society for Dermatologic Surgery, or American Academy of Dermatology.
Dermatologists are familiar with different treatment options and can determine what’s best for your skin type and health. You might even want to interview a few candidates before selecting one. When you do, be sure to ask a lot of important questions.
For example, you can ask them about:
- their experience with the procedure
- whether they have a portfolio of before and after pictures
- recovery time
To find a board-certified dermatologist in your area, use this online search tool.
In the quest to age gracefully, saggy or loose skin is a common concern on many people’s minds.
It’s a natural part of aging, caused by collagen loss and overexposure to the sun. It can also be caused by weight loss or pregnancy.
If you’re looking to firm up your skin as you age, there are many options available to you. Of course, you can’t reverse the signs of aging completely.
You can go the nonsurgical route and add firming creams or facial exercises to your skincare routine. There are also cosmetic procedures that provide quicker results, such as laser surfacing or ultrasound skin tightening.
To find the best solution for you, consult a board-certified dermatologist. They can determine a treatment plan for your skin type and health.